17 Dec 2010

Anti-drug group critical of 'primitive' police pursuits

8:23 pm on 17 December 2010

An anti-drug-driving lobby group says the way police launch and see through pursuits is primitive and not working.

Police on Auckland's North Shore have been criticised by the Independent Police Conduct Authority for not abandoning a pursuit in which an officer was seriously injured, despite two orders to do so in March 2009.

The injured constable was laying road spikes and was hit by a disqualified driver who had taken methamphetamine, or "P", and was trying to avoid police.

The report issued on Friday says the officer broke two rules - his choice of location did not provide cover and he was not wearing a reflective jacket.

Police have acknowledged that their actions were uncoordinated.

Rachael Ford, from the Candor Trust, believes there should be no such pursuits.

Ms Ford says officers are living on adrenaline and Police Minister Judith Collins should not be supportive of police pursuits.

Ms Ford says officers are being put in difficult positions by outdated policies and the way police chases are controlled is like a spaghetti western and bound to result in bad judgements.

The injured officer has since recovered and returned to full duties.

Three officers will be given refresher training and all those involved will have their performance measures scrutinised.

The driver they were chasing had more than 50 earlier convictions and was jailed for seven years.